The grateful mum of a baby boy rushed into intensive care just three minutes into his young life is raising cash to thank city doctors for his care.

Ruth Durkin, from Handsworth has called on family and friends to give donations not presents when her son Gabriel turns one at the end of November.

The brave baby spent more than a month in intensive care at the city's Jessop Wing, including a heartbreaking spell over Christmas when hospital staff went the extra mile to make his stay special.

One of his lungs had collapsed, and he also had suspected sepsis...

Ruth said: “My pregnancy progressed normally, but when I went to Jessops to be induced my blood pressure and heart rate were abnormally high. For this reason I had to have an emergency caesarean section.

“Gabriel was born at a healthy weight, however he turned blue when he was three minutes old and was rushed to the Neonatal Unit (NNU), where he was put on oxygen. One of his lungs had collapsed, and he also had suspected sepsis so was put on antibiotics.

“Gabriel spent 5 weeks in intensive and special care. It was a difficult and extremely worrying time, but we had to keep going and keep strong for Gabriel’s sake.

“On the day Gabriel was born I felt very overwhelmed and couldn’t comprehend what had happened as I was in shock. My husband, James, and Gabriel and I are extremely lucky to have wonderful family and friends who supported us during this time. My Mum, in particular, helped enormously by visiting NNU with me every day James had to continue to work.

Gabriel was allowed to come home for four hours on Christmas Day

“I found it hard to leave him at the end of each day as I just wanted to take him home. The staff comforted me when I cried and assured me they’d take care of him whilst I went home to sleep.

“I was able to ring the ward for updates when I wasn’t at the hospital which was reassuring. Gabriel was in hospital over Christmas but was allowed to come home for four hours on Christmas Day.

“All the babies received a sack full of presents and Father Christmas visited twice. I think the staff thought I was a bit strange as I left a mince pie for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph at the end of Gabriel’s cot! Some of the presents and cards we received were from parents of babies who had previously spent Christmas in NNU.

“Hearing about their children who had fully recovered and knowing that they understood our situation was a huge comfort. James and I are planning to donate a gift and card for the parents and guardians of each baby on the unit this Christmas.

He is absolutely fine and well now...

“Whilst Gabriel was on NNU the staff were patient and kind, answered our questions and kept us fully abreast of what was happening. The facilities in the unit are fantastic, including charity funded accommodation beside the hospital where parents who live far away are able to stay to be near their babies.

“We stayed one night there with Gabriel before he was sent home so that we could have a trial-run of caring for him without support. He was struggling to feed from a bottle as he had been fed through a gastric feeding tube since birth, so he stayed longer in hospital until he could feed successfully. 

“He is absolutely fine and well now, and we are so grateful for the excellent care he received. For his first birthday, which is on 29 November, instead of presents we'd like to ask for donations towards the Neonatal Unit so that they can continue their fantastic work.

“We already have the best present ever - our healthy son.”

Donate to Gabriel’s birthday fund